IFJ Calls for Investigation of Fire that Destroyed Two TV Stations, One Radio Station in DRC

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) called for a full investigation of the fire that destroyed two television stations, Canal Congo Télévision (CCTV) and Canal Kin Télévision (CKTV), and the radio station Radio Liberté on Monday 18 September in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

CCTV Director Kitutu O'Leontwa was seriously burned when the fire broke out in the building which houses CCTV, CKTV and Radio Liberté, TV and radio stations owned by the political party of the opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba.

“We wish a quick recovery to CCTV’s director and express our solidarity with our colleagues,” said Gabriel Baglo, director of the IFJ Africa office. “We call on the government to conduct a serious investigation to determine whether it was an accidental or a criminal fire.”

On Monday afternoon during a live show on CCTV, Kasongo Numbi, a member of the Congolese Parliament said to be close to the ruling party, was in the studio. The fire began with black smoke and then flames coming from the air conditioner in the studio, Numbi told the AFP.

The origin of the fire is not yet clear but Numbi was assaulted by building security guards and a crowd who accused him of setting the fire.

Next month, Jean-Pierre Bemba will face current president, Joseph Kabila, in a presidential election run-off. During the first round of elections, both candidates used their radio and TV stations for political propaganda. The media regulatory body Haute Autorité des Médias shut down three stations for 24 hours in August for inciting people to violence.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries